Guest post by Stacey Ritz
We save each other. I am grateful to experience the power of positive connection time and again throughout my life. I started rescuing stray and injured animals in need as soon as I could walk, so I suppose it has always been in my DNA to co-found an animal welfare organization to assist animals in need on a larger platform. As for my words- my parents recorded my first word as “talks a lot!” in my neatly kept baby book. They claim that once I started talking, I didn’t stop. I guess some things never change. I channel that raw spirit and energy into my writing, in an effort to share my experiences with you.
Life teaches us many lessons over the course of our years. If we are lucky, we learn that life isn’t about money or things; life is about connection to other living beings. My experience continues to teach me that we often surround ourselves with mirror images of our inner selves. When we feel scared, we may witness that same phenomenon in others. When we are ready to move forward and heal from persisting deep wounds, we align ourselves with those who will support our transformation. When we’re uncertain about the trajectory of our life, we see that same fear in those around us. So often it is our companion animals who find us when we are most in need. From my own ongoing adventures in animal rescue to the heartwarming stories that have been shared with me by others, I am absolutely certain that the human-animal bond has the power to heal, transform and enlighten each of our lives.
My new book, Pawsitive Connection, is a collection of short stories from my experiences with both cat and dog rescue and the multitude of amazing ways animals help humans. More than a dozen stories are shared throughout the book. Stories like Farrah the kitten who found her adopted home with a young child who had been adopted herself and struggled immensely to fit in with her new family…until Farrah arrived and everything changed. The book also includes stories of amazing places cat lovers will be longing to visit, the story of two resident nursing home cats helping the elderly, and another of two rescued Bengal cats who were once severely neglected and abused. Their story of rehabilitation and ultimately of adoption will leave your heart purring with joy. One of the cats even becomes a certified therapy cat, leading a life of service.
Stories like Buddy, a black senior cat who found himself all alone and unsure of where to go- also fill the pages of this heartwarming collection of short stories. After living ten years together with his loving guardian, Buddy’s human suddenly passed away. Family members didn’t want to see Buddy euthanized in a local shelter, and therefore they turned him loose outside of the only home he had ever known. Family members left one last bowl of food and water on the porch for Buddy as they pulled away with their belongings, never to return again.
Buddy had never experienced the great outdoors in his ten years of life and he clung to the front porch, hoping for something to change. Hoping for his food and water bowl to be filled, hoping for a friendly lap to jump into and snuggle…hoping for love. Hoping to live. Concerned neighbors contacted Advocates 4 Animals for help and that’s where Buddy’s journey began. In time, Buddy was adopted through the Seniors to Seniors program- matching senior cats with senior (human) adopters. His story of survival will have you meowing with delight.
After more than a decade of operating Advocates 4 Animals, the stories shared in Pawsitive Connection are some that have touched my soul and leave me simply in awe of the resilience of animals. Advocates 4 Animals is a true labor of love, providing life-saving assistance to pets in need since 2003 through programs such as Rescue/Adoption, Pet Food Pantry, Spay It Forward, Community Cats (Feral Cats TNR program) and Seniors to Seniors.
One of thousands of happy adopters recently explained, “Alvin changed my life. I thought I was rescuing a cat in need, especially since adult cats seem to have to wait so long to find adoption. But now I think we rescued each other in so many ways. Alvin makes me smile every day. He brings so much joy and I know he is so grateful for his new life. I wasn’t sure at first, but now I know with certainty- Alvin and I are the perfect match. A4A saves the lives of animals in need- but they are also enhancing the lives of so many humans too.”
Stacey Ritz is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Advocates 4 Animals, Inc and is a regular contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well Cat Fancy, Dog Living, American Pet Magazine and more. Her book, Pawsitive Connection (Rockville Publishing) is now available for Amazon Kindle; a portion of the proceeds from each book sold will help animals in need.